I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This short Bill deals with a set of circumstances which were overlooked in the coal legislation of 1937–38, vesting the royalties in the Coal Commission. Hon. Members will remember that the original Act drew a distinction between lessees who were working coal and lessees who were drawing royalties. It was important to leave the first undisturbed and to catch the second and vest the royalties in the Commission. Therefore, the procedure of the Act, as most lessees were working coal, was to exempt leases, subject to an exception. This was where you had a lease with an under-lease derived out of it, in regard to which the under-lessee was paying royalties to the original lessee. That form of enactment worked perfectly well in the ordinary case of a lease from A to B and another lease from B to C, who was working coal derived under the first lease. Unfortunately, a different series of facts came before the court, where you had an original lease from A, a further lease to C, who was working the pit, and, 11 days before the Act came into force, another lease from A to D which was subject to the original lease from A to C but extended to a longer period and transferred all A's rights to B.
In that case, the original lease to the person who was working the pit was not derived out of the lease to B, the other person. As a result, the royalties which were paid by the person working the pit were not caught by the Act and did not vest in the Commission. Hon. Members will agree that, the House having agreed to the principle that the royalties should be vested in the Commission, the case which I have put to the House should be covered. We have covered it in the Bill by suggesting that the lease should be dated as if it were derived from the first lease within the terms of the original Act. My legal Friends will understand that the Bill is to deal with a casus omissus. I hope that the Bill, although belatedly, will put the matter right.